I’m in the process of testing some exciting new soap-making ingredients. Today I worked with olive wax – a by-product of the olive oil industry. It’s similar to beeswax, but has a slightly lower melting point. It’s also a vegan product, which might make it attractive to soap and cosmetics makers who cater to that market.
Since giving up palm oil, I have been searching for a way to make my soap harder. Sodium lactate has helped some, but I still needed something to firm up the soap a bit more. Beeswax at 2% helped a great deal, but it made the bars feel a bit waxy and seemed to compromise the lather quantity and stability. I understand that it can also speed trace to an unmanageable level, which makes it less than ideal for highly-decorative soaps.
Olive wax, on the other hand, does not appear to accelerate trace. It did slightly alter the lather by making the bubbles smaller, but it did not affect the stability. The conditioning properties of the soap have also remained unaffected and there is no waxy residue left on the skin – even with the olive wax included at 6% in my soap recipe. Overall, I am extremely impressed with its performance.
Aside from olive wax’s application in soap, it may also be used in cosmetics as a thickener. It makes a wonderful replacement for beeswax in products like lip balm, and even more importantly, can replace petro-chemical products such as paraffin.
Over the coming weeks, I will be testing other waxes like apricot wax, jojoba wax, avocado wax, and fruit waxes extracted from citrus peels. If they perform as well as the olive wax, I’ll definitely be incorporating them into my product line and adding them to the gracefruit.com site.